What Is SEER? A Guide to Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio

As homeowners increasingly prioritize energy efficiency and cost savings, understanding the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) becomes essential when choosing an HVAC system for your Athens, GA, home. But what is SEER, and why is it important? In this comprehensive guide, Stiles Services, your trusted HVAC contractor in Athens, GA, will unravel the concept of SEER and its significance in evaluating the energy efficiency of air conditioning units and heat pumps.

We will walk you through the factors that influence SEER ratings, the benefits of investing in a high-SEER HVAC system, and how to determine the ideal SEER rating for your specific needs. Join us as we break down the mystery surrounding SEER and empower you with the knowledge to make informed decisions when upgrading or replacing your Athens, GA, home’s heating and cooling systems.

What is a SEER Rating for HVAC?

The SEER rating, or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio, is a metric used to measure the energy efficiency of air conditioning systems and heat pumps. It represents the total cooling output (in BTUs or British Thermal Units) provided by an air conditioner or heat pump during a typical cooling season, divided by the total energy consumed (in watt-hours) while operating under different outdoor temperature conditions. In simpler terms, SEER helps you understand how much cooling capacity you get per unit of energy consumed by your HVAC system. The higher the SEER rating, the more energy-efficient your system is.

How Is SEER Calculated?

SEER is calculated by testing an HVAC unit’s cooling performance over a broad range of outdoor temperatures, typically ranging from 65°F to 104°F. The cooling output is then divided by the energy consumed during the testing period, resulting in a SEER rating. It is worth noting that SEER ratings are based on an average and may not accurately reflect the efficiency of an HVAC system in extreme weather conditions or under non-ideal usage patterns.

What Is a Good SEER HVAC Rating?

A good SEER rating will vary depending on your climate, energy costs in your region, and your individual cooling needs. However, the minimum SEER rating for new air conditioners and heat pumps in the US is 14 SEER. Investing in a unit with a higher SEER rating can lead to significant long-term energy savings.

To determine the ideal SEER rating for your Athens, GA, home, consider factors such as local climate, electricity rates, and your cooling preferences. Remember that a higher SEER rating may be beneficial in hotter climates or regions with high electricity prices.

Benefits of a High SEER Rating or Ratio

There are several benefits of investing in an HVAC system with a high SEER rating, including:

  1. Higher Energy Efficiency: A higher SEER rating means your HVAC system is using less energy to provide the same amount of cooling capacity, leading to reduced energy consumption and costs.
  2. Greater Indoor Comfort: High-SEER units tend to have more advanced features, such as variable-speed compressors and multi-stage cooling, that result in more consistent temperatures and improved humidity control.
  3. Lower Electric Bills: Since a high-SEER HVAC unit consumes less energy, you’ll see a decrease in your monthly electricity bills.
  4. Tax Credits and Rebates: Some high-SEER HVAC systems qualify for federal tax credits and local utility rebates, saving you money upfront and in the long run.
  5. Reduced Environmental Impact: High-SEER appliances are designed to consume less electricity, which means they contribute to a smaller carbon footprint, helping the environment.


While SEER measures the efficiency of HVAC systems over an entire cooling season, EER (Energy Efficiency Ratio) is a snapshot of the system’s efficiency at a specific outdoor temperature, typically 95°F. Both are useful metrics for comparing the energy efficiency of different cooling units. However, SEER is a more comprehensive measure, making it more suitable for residential cooling system comparisons.

What SEER Numbers Mean

A higher SEER number indicates a more energy-efficient HVAC system. Here’s a breakdown of what different SEER ratings mean:

– 14-15 SEER: Minimal EnergyStar requirements; efficient for average climates

– 16-20 SEER: High energy efficiency; ideal for hot climates or regions with high electricity rates

– 21+ SEER: Extremely energy-efficient; provides substantial long-term savings, but comes with a higher upfront cost

How Do I Find My Air Conditioning Unit’s SEER?

To find your air conditioner’s SEER rating, look for a yellow and black EnergyGuide sticker on the unit. This sticker will display the SEER rating, along with relevant information about the unit’s energy efficiency, and the model number. Alternatively, check your HVAC unit’s user manual or look up the model number online to find the SEER rating.


Understanding the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio (SEER) is a crucial step in making an informed decision when investing in a new HVAC system for your Athens, GA, home. A higher SEER rating leads to increased energy efficiency, lower electric bills, and reduced environmental impact, making it a worthwhile investment over time. By equipping yourself with the knowledge of SEER ratings and their implications, you can confidently choose the most efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly HVAC system for your unique needs.

At Stiles Services, we pride ourselves on serving as your trusted HVAC contractor in Athens, GA, and our team of experienced professionals is ready to assist you in finding the perfect HVAC solution for your home. 

Contact us today, and let us help you unlock the benefits of a high-SEER system while ensuring optimal comfort and efficiency for years to come.

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